Local Obits

Obituary of Barbara Voionmaa Welch


In the early evening of Sunday, September 24, 2023 Barbara Taber Voionmaa Welch passed away peacefully at Cayuga Medical Center.

Barb was born in Batavia NY January 23, 1935. She was raised in Attica NY until 1946 when her father moved the family to Ithaca and they made their home on Cayuga Lake. A stall was built in the moving van to accommodate her horse” Bingo” who made the move with her. During her school years she spent much time with Bingo and had him throughout her college years. Barb loved the water and spent most of the summers on the beach; she graduated from Ithaca High School in 1952 and Cornell University in 1956.

Barb married Harry K. Voionmaa, whom she met at Cornell, and they settled in Connecticut. Harry’s work took the young family, with two toddlers, to Europe for several years. During their time in Europe, she lived and visited Germany, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, and France.

They returned to Ithaca NY, where their youngest child was born, and settled again in Connecticut. During that time, Barb taught home economics and physics at Stamford Catholic High School. The family enjoyed trips to local beaches and vacations in New England. Barbara and Harry were married 18 years.

Barb returned to the Ithaca area and purchased a house in Dryden, NY, where her youngest child graduated from Dryden High School. After many difficult years, she received the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart. This encounter with Jesus changed her life completely and set her on a path of walking in a relationship with God until her passing this past weekend.

She met Richard (Dick) H. Welch, a local pastor. After a few years of courtship, they married and moved to King Ferry NY. They celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary this past summer. Dick and Barb were active in church activities at Cornerstone Church in King Ferry and later Christ Chapel in Ithaca.

Horses were important in her life and when she was in her 60’s she bought another horse “Buddy.” Buddy became a part of the family, roaming around outside of his barn, following her wherever she went.

Barb always made her house a home and her lifelong interest in flowers meant that she planted flower beds and potted flowers wherever she lived. She loved music and was a talented violinist in the high school orchestra, played piano, and sang in choirs during her life.

Over the years, Barb and Dick enjoyed many events in their extended family, and vacations in Florida, visiting family and friends on the way.

They moved to Dryden several years ago to be closer to family and she was grateful to spend her last years in the quiet neighborhood, gardening, and doing the things she enjoyed.

Barb leaves behind her beloved husband, Dick Welch, her sister Beverly (Ed) Maynard, her children Monica Voionmaa, Darrell (Mary) Voionmaa, and Mark Voionmaa, Rich (Doris) Welch, Pam (Rod) Parlett, Patty (Bob) Bancroft, Amy (Mike) Yeazel, several cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Barb was predeceased by her infant son Eric Voionmaa, father Claude Taber, stepfather Walter Hedden, mother Carol Taber / Hedden, and first husband Harry Voionmaa.

A memorial service for Barbara will be held on Sunday October 1, 2023 at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 W Main St, Dryden NY. Calling hours are 1pm – 2pm, followed by a funeral service at 2:00pm. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the American Diabetes Association.

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